energy efficiency
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Energy Awareness Month in October serves as an important time for consumers to research and select the most sensible, energy-efficient materials for home construction.

Homebuyers making smart choices on materials for the "building envelope" of their home can save every year on energy bills.

Step #1: Energy-Efficient Foundation
Selecting a reliable foundation is vital, such as a precast concrete foundation that can help ward off heat loss plus provide more comfortable living space in the home.

Step #2: Windows With Special Features
As the shell of a home goes up, there are many holes to fill, the most important being the windows. Selecting high-quality, low-maintenance windows that have exceptional features will pay off with years of comfort in the home and significant savings on energy bills.

When thinking about windows, consider not just their looks, but what special aspects they can bring to a home. A great example is the vinyl acoustic window system that help make homes quieter, and at the same time help homeowners save on heating and cooling costs.

Step #3: Privacy Windows for Special Areas
While clear glass windows generally dominate a house, there's always room for privacy windows in key areas of the home.

These windows limit solar heat gain through tinted UV inhibitors in the resin while also including an extra panel of acrylic in the center of each block for added energy efficiency.

Step #4: Garage Doors
One of the largest openings in the building envelope --- the garage door --- should also be selected with energy efficiency in mind.

Eliminating metal-to-metal-contact limits the transfer of temperature, as well as enhanced air infiltration seals in the section joints restrict air movement to increase the energy efficiency of the garage door.

Step #5: Up on the Roof
At the top of the house, including a cool roof made of durable composite slate or shake can save homeowners years of maintenance hassles and energy expenses. These special roofs actually help reflect sunlight and heat away from the home.

According to Michael Cobb, president chief marketing officer at DaVinci Roofscapes. "According to the Department of Energy's ENERGY STAR program, cool roofs can help reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 10 to 15% for a homeowner."